Friday, July 31, 2009

Cyber cafe at Bangalore Rly station to be shut down

Cyber cafe at Bangalore Rly station to be shut down
S Lalitha,DH News Service,Bangalore:

Internet cafe at the concourse area in the main entrance of the City railway station that had been functioning erratically for the last six months, has shut shop completely.

Closure of ‘Cyber Express’ has come about even before its contract with RailTel, the IT wing of the Railways, expires on August 10, 2009.

Similar fate is in store for many other internet cafes run by VSNL (a Tata group) at key railway stations all over the country. “We have received a letter from VSNL stating that they were not interested in continuing with internet operations at 25 railway stations across the country,” a top source at railways said.

The city railway station had earned the distinction of being the first wi-fi enabled cyber cafe railway station in the country during its inauguration on July 14, 2006. Apart from internet access, audio-video chatting, scanning, internet telephony and mobile charging facilities were also made available here.

Reasons

"The non-payment of electricity bills to BESCOM by the cyber cafe, despite repeated pleas and subsequent disconnection of power supply is the chief reason for closure,” a source said.

It was the intervention of RailTel and its repeated assurances to BESCOM that it was permitted to continue without payment for months.

Irregular functioning

The cafe was irregular in its functioning. However, when operations resumed after a few days, those running it just said that there was no problem and that they were on a break.

With infrastructure intact and a plush office at the station’s busiest part, RailTel is now eyeing the vacant spot.

VSNL was awarded the franchisee rights to run 82 `Cyber Express’ centres at railway stations across the country, in the railway budget 2006-2007.

Quality time

The idea behind setting up the centres was to allow passengers to spend quality time, while awaiting trains. Mysore and Hubli are the other stations in South Western Railway with such cafes.

As the communications office is headquartered at Mumbai, local VSNL officials refused to comment on the closure issue.

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